• "Promising but not entirely convincing": A review of Ommatidia's "Let's Face It"

    Ladies and gentlemen!

    Today, I would like to introduce you to a promising French gothic metal quintet called Ommatidia. Four years after its first strike "In This Life, or the Next", the band is back with its sophomore output "Let's Face It". I've discovered this band since their guitarist and founding member Nicolas Chevrollier was a member of one of my favourite groups of all times which is progressive gothic metal band The Old Dead Tree which called it quits five years ago after releasing three outstanding studio albums and a demo. The good news is that The Old Dead Tree is currently working on some old material written just before the split that might be recorded for a final future release. I had already heard many positive things about Ommatidia since their style was sometimes compared to this legendary band. Even though I believe that the band doesn't quite reach The Old Dead Tree's level of melancholic perfection yet, their styles are intriguingly similar and Ommatidia's second output is definitely worth a few spins for curious genre fans. I hope my review might intrigue you a little bit. If you like what you hear, please support the band by checking out its Bandcamp presence and spreading its name.

    Ommatidia - Let's Face It (2015)

    Ommatidia is a gothic metal quintet from Paris that has just released its sophomore record “Let’s Face It”. The five members have lots of experiences from different backgrounds and have played with groups such as brutal death metal band Decoherence, gothic rock group Dustbowl, thrash metal band Exhauster, groove metal formation Jarell, funeral doom metal outfit Monolith, metalcore group Sinn and one of my favourite bands of all times which is progressive gothic metal group The Old Dead Tree. Despite these diverse influences, Ommatidia plays coherent mid-tempo gothic metal with a focus on melancholic doom-inspired melodies, some slight progressive transitions between the tracks and mostly melodic male clean vocals that sound quite accessible and hypnotizing. The record has a great flow and focus over a quite fitting running time around forty-eight professionally recorded minutes.

    These obvious strengths are ironically the band’s greatest weaknesses as well. The album sounds quite ordered and never loses its stylistic guiding line despite a mixture of louder and heavier parts in the beginning and calmer and more numbing tones towards the end. Longer technical instrumental passages, appeasing acoustic guitar parts and short atmospheric sound samples add some depth to the song writing. Still, this album often fails to come around with truly emotional, technically gripping or stylistically surprising parts that really stand out. The record sounds good while it lasts despite a few lengths but lacks uniqueness. The different songs may need some more time to stay on your mind and open up but similar genre bands have more recognizable elements and immediately leave a deeper impression. If you are not a genre fan with a weakness for bands such as Anathema, Katatonia and Paradise Lost, there is no interest to listen to or revisit Ommatidia’s second output. 

    Among the best tracks is probably the hypnotizing “Seeping Back” that includes a few harsh vocals that contrast the melodic clean vocals very well. Slow and melancholic parts driven by hypnotizing guitar sounds and dreamy piano melodies meet low riffs, distorted guitar solos, a pumping bass guitar and variable drum play. This song sounds like what The Old Dead Tree could have become if they hadn’t split up more than five years ago. On the other side, I might cite “Soiled” as an example for the band’s negative sides. The track is ambitious with a length of more than seven minutes and has many smart small progressive changes of style but the song is lacking focus and punch. The song lacks an addicting chorus, a ferocious change of pace or a memorable melody as the seven minutes feel quite stretched and seem to go nowhere. It’s not a bad track by any objective means since the song writing is thoughtful but subjectively, this dull track is missing something outstanding and represents the main problem of this band in general and this record in particular very well.

    In the end, Ommatidia is a good progressive gothic metal band that features solid lyrical concepts, above average musicianship and standard to good vocal efforts. Genre fans can try the band’s two records out and might keep an eye on the Parisian quintet in the future. On the other side, the French band still needs to find its very own style and add some focus to its sometimes numbing and pointless song writing. Let’s face it: The band’s promising elements might need some more time to develop, mature and straighten to find a righteous place and some more recognition in the international gothic metal scene.

    Final rating: 6.5/10


    Please support the band and check out the following links:

    Bandcamp: http://ommatidiaband.bandcamp.com/releases

    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ommatidia/173165282702769

    Homepage: http://www.ommatidia.net/

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